New Snowden files: Intelligence agencies planned to hack Android phones by compromising app stores

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A multinational government group known as the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – the spy group comprising Canada, the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand – planned to hack Android phones by compromising both Google and Samsung app stores. The plan was revealed in newly-released Snowden files dating back to 2012, reports CBC News.

Five Eyes specifically sought ways to find and hijack data links to servers used by Google and Samsung’s mobile app stores [trying] to find ways to implant spyware on smartphones by intercepting the transmissions sent when downloading or updating apps.

The alliance planned to begin by analyzing traffic to the stores to identify the Internet usage habits of targets (such as which apps they used), but the ultimate goal was to plant spyware that would enable them to extract data from targeted smartphones, or even to take control of them …  Read more

Google’s ‘Designed for Families’ Play Store program likely to launch at Google I/O

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Google has begun sending out an email to developers, asking them to opt-in their family-friendly apps and games to the Designed for Families program. The Mountain View company first started inviting developers to take part in the initiative about a month ago, aiming to increase discoverability of family- and kid-friendly apps on the Play Store… Read more

HTC Car app arrives on the Play Store, but it’s still exclusive to certain phones

While those of us living at the bleeding edge of technology (aka Uber) may not have a use for this, HTC knows that many people still drive and need a safe way to get information while keeping their eyes on the road. That’s why they today released a previously HTC One-exclusive Android app called HTC Car, which turns your smartphone into an in-car dashboard, to the Play Store…

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Google reportedly prepping to give Android users more control over app privacy settings

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According to a report this afternoon from Bloomberg, “people familiar with the matter” have said that Google is preparing to give Android users more control over what data gets shared with their apps. Users will, at some point in the near future, have “more detailed choices” over which pieces of their information that apps have access to:

Google’s Android operating system is set to give users more detailed choices over what apps can access, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter remains private. That could include photos, contacts or location. An announcement of the change, which would put Android closer in line with Apple Inc.’s iOS, is expected for Google’s developer’s conference in San Francisco this month, one of the people said.

More than likely, this is a feature that Google will be announcing alongside Android “M” at this year’s Google I/O conference which is set to kick off at the end of the month.

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Google Play Store updated w/ new animation, popular quotes from reviews section

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Google today has started rolling out an update to the Play Store app that bumps it to version 5.5. The update doesn’t add much, but it keeps with Google’s trend of enhancing the design of its in-house apps. With Play Store 5.5, Google has added a new circular animation that appears when you tap on a TV show title.

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Google launches dev channel for Chrome on Android

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Today Google released a new Chrome Dev app, a way for developers to access the latest Chrome builds and experimental features before they’re ready for beta and public releases.

Google has always had a developer release channel for Chrome, allowing devs to get access to the latest builds and features even before regular users are encouraged to start testing through its beta and public release channels. Previously the dev channel was only for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS, but today the company is bringing it to Android.

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Google’s new ‘Handwriting Input’ keyboard lets you manually draw text (and emoji) in any Android app

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Google has today released version 1.0 of its new “Handwriting Input” keyboard, which lets you manually draw the text you would like to type. The app works on both smartphones and tablets as you can see in the gallery below, and it’s—based on my first few minutes using the app—actually pretty good at deciphering your handwriting no matter how bad it may be. It works in any Android app that has a text input field. Read more

Entire Star Wars saga headed to Google Play this Friday with tons of new bonus material, pre-orders now available

Disney announced today that the entire Star Wars saga will finally be available for digital HD download later this week, marking the first time ever that the films have been offered in this format. As confirmed in the TV spot above and the Google Play tweet below, the entire collection will be available to purchase from the Google Play Store this Friday, with pre-orders already up and running for $89.99.

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Google Wallet for Android updated w/ Maps integration & new transaction search tools

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Google announced today that it has started rolling out an update to Google Wallet on Android with a couple of notable new features. First off, Wallet on Android now packs Google Maps integration. With this integration, you can see exactly where you performed any given transaction on an embedded map. This feature, Google says, will make it easier to notice any sort of suspicious activity that occurs.

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